After spending 6 days in Maine and having an open weekend ahead of me, I decided to make some plans. The first on the list of plans was to head into Greensboro Vermont to visit the Hill Farmstead Brewery (http://www.hillfarmstead.com/). It was a good 3 1/2 hour drive from Portland Maine, but without knowing when I’d be back in New England, I thought it would be a worthwhile trip.
I had tasted their beers before while attending 2011 Extreme Beer Fest and on tap in a couple places in New York City. I knew that it would be a long trip, but well worth it to visit the place where so many awesome beers have been born. So I typed in the address into my navigation and took off into Vermont. It wasn’t even a bad day for a drive. Beautiful clear skies, clean air and the leaves were changing color.
While driving through New Hampshire and into Vermont, I couldn’t help but to make a few stops and take a look at the scenery. At one point, there was actually a waterfall right on the side of the highway. It would have been nice to take a hike in the area, but there wasn’t any time for that. I had to make it to the brewery before 5:00pm, and still had a ride in front of me.
I arrived in Greensboro at around 4:00pm, but was a little bit confused. I was really out in the middle of nowehere. After driving around for a while, my navigation lead me to a long gravel road and although I didn’t think it was the correct way, I put my trust in the navigation and arrived at Hill Farmstead a few minutes later. I parked and took a walk into the big wooden door and into the tasting room
Inside the tasting lay brand new tanks that the brewery just got literally 2 days before. They weren’t even operational yet. Next to the tanks was the tasting and retail area. I was going to ask if they were doing any tours, but from what it looked like, I basically already took one. This was by far the smallest breweries I’ve visited thus far. The entire operation is three people and from first glance from the outside, just seems like a house with a detached garage. The fact that such a small place has made such a big impact in the beer community is truly a testament to the quality of these incredible small batch beers that they’ve been making.
As previously mentioned, I’ve only tried a handful of beers from them while at Extreme Beer Fest earlier this year, so it felt fitting to do the tasting. Although I can’t recall exactly the order of the tasting, I believe it went something like this: Edward (Pale Ale), Amarillo (Single Hop Pale Ale), James (Black IPA), Abner (IPA), Everett (Robust Porter), Ephraim (IPA). All of them incredible, but would have to say that the winner of all of then would have to be Abner and the Amarillo single hop.
Although a lot of breweries give free tasting sessions, I still felt that this was truly worth the money and worth the ride up. This is also the only place where you can purchase their beer in growlers. Although it seems like the inventory at the brewery is inconsistent due to limited bottling, you could still get lucky and find something incredible. My timing was good enough to pick up a bottle of Jim – a Black IPA aged in wine barrels and then dry hopped with simcoe. However, I was still a couple weeks early to pick up the Mikkeller and Hill Farmstead Collaboration. I saw it bottle conditioning in the corner, but unfortunately couldn’t convince anyone to sell me one.
After purchasing a few of every beer on the shelf, I decided that it was probably time to get to my next destination: Boston.